The pain of losing someone, especially in the form of death, cuts so deep that it can often leave many of us paralyzed emotionally. We ache. We go about our days being reminded of them in little ways from that little coffee shop you always went to, that playground you took them to, or that sign you always passed by on the way to their house. The pain comes with passing moments when part of you forgets they are no longer here on earth followed by a tidal-wave engulfing your heart in a split moment as the reality they are gone sweeps over you. We get jealous. We get jealous that the ones we love who get to dance in Heaven while we are left here with memories that carry aching moments as we try to heal from the reality that life isn’t the same without them.
We replay moments. We cry randomly. We get upset at someone for no reason because maybe something that they did reminded us of the person we lost.
Death can be scary. It can leave us abandoned in a reality that we aren’t in control. Death is a reminder that you can lose someone and not get them back. We often like to avoid the topic of death as we get older, because for most of us, that word carries all of the people we lose year-to-year. It carries the reality that life is short. It carries the box of questions we try to avoid: What am I doing with my life? If I died today, would I be happy with the story I told? Would anyone miss me? Where will I go?
It feels messy.
It feels scary.
It feels unbearable in moments.
It carries the weight of wondering where they went. Heaven or hell? Ah how uncomfortable the thought can be at times! I am thankful that the people I have lost were Jesus-loving, Christ-like people in which I am confident where they dance right now. But it doesn’t take away the pain while I am still here trying to heal, thinking I am fully healed at moments, awakened by the reality that it is going to take time and that I will never ever forget them.
1 Corinthians 15:55 states, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Oh praise our Lord God! Jesus conquered death. It is not meant to sting forever. Death doesn’t have to be as scary now, because we are given the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus and now this earth is only our temporary home creating the reality that death here on earth is a transition to a home where God has been preparing for us before we were even born.
While I have lost friends and family to suicide, cancer, not getting the transplant they needed, or car wrecks, I am comforted by the greater reality that they are dancing and laughing in the most beautiful place imaginable. We often face two realities in life: the pain of a situation and the reality of all the people who love and care about us. It is up to us to collide those realities in a healthy manner, allowing ourselves to feel pain while being comforted and surrounded by the people that love us well. It is up to us to live on their legacy, tell their story, and run the race until we feel their embrace again.
May we be people who are empathetic to those experiencing loss. May we lift people up, crave transparency with others, and live lives in pursuit of a world-changing story. Pain isn’t bad. Loss isn’t bad. Death isn’t bad. These things mold our stories, have the ability to give us more zest for life, and remind us that we are humans gifted with the ability to deeply love.
So my prayer for you is that you would remember the ones you love in the best way possible: live your life to the fullest and relentlessly love everyone you meet.